Update – Ebook Hosting Service
Update 6-16-05: The service written about below is no longer functional. I’ve stopped the service for lack of time to devote to it. Instead, check out Payloadz. They are a great service for hosting ebooks and it’s tightly integrated with PayPal.
I’ve been trying to hold this as long as possible, but I just can’t be silent any longer. Even though we’re still a few days from beta launching, I just can’t hold back my excitement on this new web service that I’ve been working on now for the past 6 months or so.
Essentially, I’ve built an online ebook hosting service. It’s at OrderDept.com in case you want to check it out. Note however, that we’re not quite live and there are a few more things that need to be added to the site (like pricing and FAQ) before it’ll be ready for prime time.
This service is going to be very unique. If you have an ebook (or just content you want people to pay to read) OrderDept.com will allow you to host it and automate delivery by accepting payment (using your business PayPal account as your merchant account.)
But that is the simple stuff. What differentiates us is our hardcopy fulfillment service. We give you the ability to have a hardcopy (full color printout) of the ebook sent to your customer automatically when they purchase your ebook. This is only an option, but one that will increase your sales dramatically since many people don’t buy ebooks because of the need to sit and read the content on the computer screen or wait for seemingly forever to print it out.
We’ll actually print your ebook for your customer and send it to them. So, they not only receive immediate access to your ebook through our secure delivery system, but they can also get a full color printout of the ebook sent to them as well. This will NOT be a traditional book. It’ll essentially be your ebook printed out in booklet format. Whatever is on the first page of your ebook will be on the cover of your printout… etc. We’ve been testing this method of selling content and it’s been a big success. People don’t necessarily want the full blown traditionally published and printed book. All they want is the content and an easy way to read it, in most cases. My trials have yielded an average unit sales increase of 120% over ebooks sold without the printout option.
Whether your customer has the option to order the printout is totally up to you, the author. If you WANT to limit your sales by just offering the ebook only, that’s up to you. But at least you have an option now. You can offer the ebook only for one price and then give your customer the option of adding a printout to be sent to them for a few extra bucks. Or you can just package it together and give it to them whether they ask for it or not. It’s totally up to you.
The price of our printout option will be based on the weight of your ebook when printed out on 20 lb laser paper. For example, our test ebook contains about 78 pages when printed in booklet format and it weighs 3 ounces. If this was your ebook, tentative cost to print and ship it to your customer would ABOUT $2.50. (If you have lots of color, this may vary, but it gives you an idea.)
Wait… there’s MORE. No more compatibility issues and download headaches. Your ebook is hosted on our server and password protected. They read it online. With the spread of broadband and “always on” internet connections, this isn’t as much a problem now-a-days as it used to be. Then again, if it IS a problem, they have a printout of the ebook coming in the mail anyway.
The online hosting of the content also allows you to update the content without worrying about outdated copies floating around. And your customer can’t as easily share the info with others like they can a PDF file or other downloadable formats.
There’s even more. 🙂
I’ve designed this service to secure your content while at the same time be able to utilize Google’s Adsense program to place ads on your content pages. That way you can continue to earn money on your content even after your customer has paid for it. This is particularly nice when you don’t necessarily want to put adsense ads on your main site because you don’t want your visitors leaving your site when they click on the adsense links. When you place adsense on your ebook pages, you don’t care if they leave because they’ve already paid to read your content. If you have high value keywords in your content, you could earn as much money using adsense in your ebook as you earn selling your ebook.
Guess what? There’s even more.
There’s a built-in tracking system that allows you to track your advertising. But it’s SO much easier to use than other tracking systems. Essentially, all you need to do is tack on “/ad/xyz” to the end of your URL when assigning URLs to your ads. The “xyz” being a variable. You can make that part anything you want. For instance, if you are advertising on Findwhat.com for the keyword “munchkins” then you can use the URL http://www.mydomain.com/ad/fw-munchkins
At the end of the month, we sent you a spreadsheet that will list all your sales and each will be related to your code if you used one to bring that customer to your site before making the purchase. This gives you the ability to track your advertising in your own system since our spreadsheet is a .csv file and very easy to use with any database system you might be using.
This system is designed to be used with a business PayPal account. In case you didn’t know, you can now accept all the major credit cards through PayPal without making the customer become a PayPal member. It’s a great deal because you get immediate access to the money instead of having to wait for the bank to give it to you using traditional merchant accounts. Not to mention the silly monthly fees merchant accounts usually charge.
Haven’t finalized the pricing yet, but it’s going to be dirt cheap. Under $10 a month for the hosting plus your ebook printout costs which is variable depending on how many you sell throughout the month.
I’ll post another update once we are officially up and running. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear any comments or suggestions you might have regarding my new service. Thanks in advance.
Keep thinking! 🙂